As we age, we’re told that stimulation of the mind is a necessity if we want to keep up with the likes of Pat Sajak, which doesn’t seem to be setting the bar very high, but one can only hope.
With that in mind, I’ve developed a few hobbies to keep my brain power in tip top shape, or at least hovering above the where-are-we-going-to-put-mom level.
A few years ago, my personal mother demonstrated this level while visiting my home. While sitting on my deck deciding which plant she would trim into oblivion as soon as my attention was diverted, she reported back to me that she was worried about a particular bird which hadn’t moved for hours. I explained that the bird was painted on the side of a bird feeder and thus far had never moved and proceeded to mock her for the rest of her visit.
Because I am weird enough without the benefit of older age, I’ve decided to take up some hobbies which will keep my brain running on as many cylinders as it takes to at least recognize painted birds from the able-to-fly-away kind.
One of my favorites is throwing out the caps to bottle and jars which are still in use. The idea is to toss the lids to say, olive oil into the trash while cleaning up the kitchen and then, when you get to the putting stuff away portion of the evening, wondering where the hell the lid to the olive oil is.
This exercise necessitates two things: the decision to search through the leavings of a family meal in order to retrieve the cap or to create a substitute from items you have around the house. For extra points, don’t use bad language.
Another brain power enhancing activity requires that you never return anything to where you initially found it. This exercise is particularly helpful if you have a spouse who returns things to their proper place, thus alleviating the participant of the arduous job of finding the keys, purse, glasses, remote control or life saving medicine in order to begin the brain stimulating activity of finding necessary objects. Once again, extra points for not swearing or accusing your family of moving the objects in order to make you feel like you’re losing your mind, (which you are).
The next example requires family members to talk in a normal tone of voice. You are only permitted to ask for a repeat one time, after that you will need to guess what the family member is trying to convey. The bonus is that, often what the family member is saying is hilarious and nonsensical, although these same people are required to pretend that what you heard was not even close to what was actually said. For instance, your husband can turn to you while watching television and say: I saw Bob today, to which you would correctly reply, “This show isn’t even about pandas!” Once again, bonus points are available for not accusing said loved ones of speaking softly.
Try getting a crush on a 36-year-old rock star. Although these activities are more geared to keeping the mind youthful and not revisiting immaturity, done right, this activity can stimulate the brain, etc. Here’s what you do; attempt having a sexual fantasy about say, Chris Martin. Now try to imagine an outcome in the real world that wouldn’t include the words, “I’m very flattered…really…but…” This takes some serious brain power.
Nearly everyone I know over 40 plays this next brain buzzing game, but if you don’t remember when MTV had videos 24/7, here’s how it’s played. You wake up injured and your job is to guess exactly what happened while you were asleep which would result in a sprained head. Or, you reach for your babushka, (Old lady for scarf,) and you suffer an attack on your shoulder which can only be described as !@#$! !@#$%^&! Your job is to come up with a more fascinating, yet still believable story which precludes old age as a factor in your injury. For instance, despite her claim of “conscious uncoupling” Gwyneth didn’t take well to my greeting her husband by winking and saying, “Hey Good Lookin’! What’s Cookin?” So she twisted my arm.
There are those who prefer crossword puzzles or trivia, but these activities necessitate items which, as a person of years, will always be missing when the mood to poke at the recesses of your brain arises. Yet, at any given moment you can strain a muscle while fantasizing about Chris Martin as you throw important items in the trash, in the midst of finding you…your…what was I looking for?